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THE LOST ESTATE
INSURGENCY IN ALABAMA
BY E. FRANKLIN EVANS
The one-two punch of horrifying news nearly devastated New York City detective lieutenant, Mark Saunders. Under investigation by internal affairs for his recent shooting of a would-be assassin intensified his troubles. The jealous asshole, Decker, passed over for the coveted promotion that he felt Saunders stole from him, was trying hard to incriminate Mark of using excessive force. Alcohol only contributed to Mark’s depression, initially brought on by his two-timing wife of six years. Now, burdened with coping with the grief of family deaths and the estate settlement of the Southern plantation of his childhood, Mark was beginning to allow his stressors to exceed his coping abilities: to put it bluntly, Mark was at the end of his rope. Now, two mysterious women are trying to insert themselves into his life. For what reason? What awaited him in his old hometown was almost too much for this hardened cop.
THE LOST ESTATE
INSURGENCY IN ALABAMA
BY E. FRANKLIN EVANS
A blast of cool air carried the smell of fried chicken to Mark when he opened the door to the Dixie Diner. The door and sign on the window looked the same as when he and his brother and father would stop in for good old Southern food after a morning of fishing.
The booth in the corner was empty and Mark imagined the three of them sitting there discussing the ones that got away. He stood in the doorway a moment savoring the plethora of smells including cornbread, apple pie, and freshly brewed coffee. He had almost forgotten the wonderful aroma of Mary’s “best food in the South.” That’s what his father called Mary’s home-cooked food when, every Saturday during Mark’s childhood, he, Jimbo, and his father took the old Ford Bronco and headed off to spend an hour or so savoring the delicious food this local favorite served. Judge J. Buffington Saunders (JB to friends and family) and Jimbo enjoyed the Country Captain. Mark always went for the meatloaf with brown gravy. The cinnamon apple pie with a scoop of Mary’s homemade ice cream on top was what the angels must eat in Heaven, Mark thought.
Louise, Mary’s youngest daughter now owned the diner. Mary had retired and lived with her oldest daughter in Mobile. The diner hadn’t changed much since Mark had last visited except for a coat of paint inside and different tablecloths. The worn hardwood floor showed a little more wear attesting to the popularity of the place, but was as spotlessly clean as he remembered.
Suddenly, the door opened filling the entrance with brilliant sunlight, drawing all eyes in that direction. In the doorway stood a vision that could sap your strength and draw your breath away with one glimpse. Shoulder-length black hair, perfect makeup, and her Louis Vuitton shoulder bag made her look as if she had stepped off the runway at New York’s Bryant Park fashion show.
Mark stared at her as she was outlined in the dazzling sunlight. Her fluttering skirt filtered the light and you could clearly see the curve of her high-heeled legs all the way to the juncture through the flimsy, flowered cotton sundress. She stood there for a moment, legs apart, glossy lipstick smile on her face and grinning pleasantly, defiantly. She may have been waiting for her eyes to adjust to the dimness, but she clearly knew that she was being admired. She looked directly into Mark’s eyes with a sense of confidence and enticement. She tilted her head slightly and her smile widened a little. After a few moments, Mark reluctantly dropped his gaze. He felt embarrassed like a young boy caught in the closet with his dad’s Playboy magazine.
“Excuse me,” she said, looking at Louise, “but I was told I could get a good meal here. Are you still serving?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” said Louise from the end of the bar. “Let me get you a menu.”
“Oh, don’t bother. Just give me whatever that man had.” She gestured toward Mark. “He looks like he just had a pleasant experience.”
Mark blushed and said, “Well, yes, I sure did. It was very pleasing, Miss… or is it Missus?”
She widened her smile and sat at the table across from Mark. Leaning toward him and allowing him a glimpse of her milky white breasts, she practically purred, “It’s miss, and tell me, what was it that you enjoyed so much…in the way of the food I mean?”
She was teasing and having fun. She crossed her legs slowly and flashed a pale, but curvy thigh.
Mark said, “I especially like the meatloaf. I haven’t had it for years.”
“Oh, I find it hard to believe that you haven’t had it for years, uh… Mister…”
“Saunders, Mark Saunders. And you are?”
Leaning forward, she extended her hand and replied, “Lissette Lambert. I’m just in from Huntsville. I checked into General Lee’s Bed and Breakfast up the street. You’re the first person I’ve met other than that nice elderly woman at the inn.”
“Yes, that’s Ruby. Louise, I will have that cup of coffee now if you don’t mind.” Mark got up and sat opposite Lissette at her small table.
Louise hollered back, “I thought so. I’m on the way with it right now.”
“Well, Mark. You are from around here, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, I’ve been away for several years and recently came back to take care of some family business.”
Louise arrived with the food and Mark’s coffee. “Would you like some cream in that coffee, Sir?”
“Louise, you know I don’t use cream in my coffee. Black is fine. I’ll add the sugar.”
“Oh, yessir. I forgot. I must have been distracted, too.” Grinning widely, she sashayed back toward the kitchen.
“Did I miss something?” Lissette asked raising her eyebrows and making her eyes bigger.
“No. I don’t think you miss much. I’ve known Louise since high school. She’s the wife of our local sheriff and she’s a terrific cook.”
Franklin Evans is a decorated, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel who fought as an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam and served in the United States Army for over twenty-six years. Following a tour with the Ranger Department at Fort Benning, Georgia, he departed for Vietnam in 1968. He served as a Special Agent of Counter-Intelligence for the US Army. Frank has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Columbus State University, a Master of Arts in Management and a Master of Arts in Computer Resources Management from Webster University in Saint Louis. Following retirement from the military, Frank was an Executive with the Boy Scouts of America. He has been employed as a Department of Defense contractor evaluating combat command and control systems and senior analyst/Defense Contractor of the US Army Infantry School’s Simulation Laboratory at Fort Benning. As an adjunct college professor, he has taught college courses in Microcomputer Applications for eleven years. His first book, STAND TO…A JOURNEY TO MANHOOD, was published in January 2008. He has published two additional books in 2017: Read My Shorts and The Lost Estate…Insurgency in Alabama. He is married to Pamela Evans and is the father of three grown children, two sons and a daughter, and lives in Tennessee where he remains active as a uniformed volunteer with the local Sheriff’s Office.
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